MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 – Parkdale Elementary School in St. Laurent and Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North have both been chosen by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) to become Community Learning Centres (CLCs).
Since the inception of the program by MELS in 2006, where James Lyng High School in St. Henri and Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Leonard became the first EMSB schools to be awarded such status, CLCs have become hubs for education and community development in the English-speaking community and serve as models for future practice.
“As a Community Learning Centre, Parkdale will strive to provide a range of services and activities to help meet the needs of its students, their families, and the wider community,” said Principal Itrat Ahmad. “This will further strengthen the foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and a vibrant community.”
“The main focus of the CLC is to build partnerships with community-based groups to help increase the success of our students by offering them and the school community more services,” added Gerald McShane Principal Evelyn Alfonsi. “Through the implementation of the CLC we will continue to build a bridge between the school, the home and the community.”
CLCs are primarily partnerships that provide a range of services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of learners, their families, and the wider community. Their aim is to support the holistic development of citizens and communities and assist them in responding to the challenges they face such as youth retention, access to services in English and sustaining the vitality and viability of their respective communities.
“The Gerald McShane CLC is already involved in several exciting projects for this school year,” Alfonsi noted. “We are launching a newly revamped After School Homework Program for the students in Grades 3 to 6. This structured environment will teach them how to be more independent and responsible for their own learning. Through a new school initiative called Moms4Moms we will be collaborating with Rayon Soleil and Les Fourchettes de l’Espoir. Moms4Moms will help the young mothers acquire food, clothing, furniture, toys, etc. which will be donated by our own school community. In exchange for this service, the moms will be required to take 4-6 weekly session workshops offered at the school.”
The objectives of CLCs are to deliver educational and support services in a seamless and integrated fashion, enable various agencies to pool resources and share the responsibility of service delivery, to nurture symbiotic relationships between schools and their communities and to rejuvenate the role and importance of the school and its services to communities.
Schools and centres will initiate these offers of service in partnership with agencies and institutions in the private, voluntary and community sectors. Services will primarily be offered in the school/centre, but may be augmented in other settings. Potential services could include integrated child-care and/or pre-school assessment and referral, health and social services, parenting and family support, intergenerational activities, community development and support, career preparation and employability, and corporate training opportunities.
The new Community Learning Centres will also benefit from a state of the art Visio Conference facility that will enable the CLCs to communicate amongst themselves as well as provide a valuable resource for curriculum content, complimentary services and learning materials. In addition, the facility can be used by community partners both public and private, for a variety of needs ranging from reducing meeting costs to upgrading skills of corporate and community group personnel.
CLCs should be able to provide access to the conditions deemed necessary for student success, respond to the particular cultural needs of the community and render services accessible to the broader community that are self-supporting and sustainable over time. Their collective mission will also entail integrating existing services available from external agencies and developing financial and/or resource partnerships that will resonate within their communities and respond to defined community needs.